New Reading Project: Blogger Recommends

Friday, September 2, 2011


Couple of months back, I was staring at the state of the TBR and feeling that necessity to cull my virtual bookshelves all over again. And while going through those shelves, I came across many that I remembered adding after reading some gushing review (though I didn't remember who exactly gushed about those books.) Since at that point, I didn't have the memory of that gushing review anymore, I found myself less inclined to want to read them. This is a classic tale among many book bloggers. Every time we go on a trip through bloggerland, we come out with a ton of new recommendations that.... eventually get buried deep under the massive Mt. TBR that we each have and absolutely fear. And then, days or months later, we probably come across the same book, forget why it is even there, and remove from our wishlists. So there goes all our noble intentions to listen to our most trusted book-recommenders.

Which is why, I've decided to start this project. One of many that I am doing, but isn't that fun? Every month, I bookmark some of the strongest recommendations that I come across. Most are books I hear about for the first time, others are books I've previously not been interested in, but this particular blogger has managed to convince me otherwise.

Giving this a swing last month, I found that I ended up bookmarking 15+ links in total. I know I was not too liberal, but I didn't want to leaf through a 100 links later. I found some wonderful new titles among these and other return-to-the-tbr titles. I thought I will spotlight some of those titles here, while I decide which one(s) to read.

 1. One of the very first reviews that I booklisted this month was Ti's review of Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. I had heard of Murakami many times, but he was one of those authors I was absolutely scared of reading. Ti's review convinced me that I'm definitely missing out on something - this was her first Murakami as well and since then, she has already read another one.

 2. Gayle wrote a fabulous review of City of Thieves by David Benioff. This book is set in St. Petersburg, a city in a country that I have not bookisited yet! City of Thieves has a very interesting story - two men captured during the Seige of Leningrad are told that their lives will be spared if they can come a week later with a dozen eggs. I am definitely curious about what happens!

 3. Another of my favorite bloggers, Helen, who always gives me these wonderful recommendations on YA books without fangs, gave me yet another one through Funny in Farsi (which is actually non-YA). For one thing, Iran is one of my favorite places to read about. I've read and loved several books set in Iran. For another, this book is laugh-out-loud funny in Helen's opinion. That would be an interesting combo!

 4. Swapna reviewed a book of short stories last month, called Quarantine by Rahul Mehta. Although I don't ordinarily read short stories, this one fascinated me because it's about homosexuality in India - it's such a scandalous topic there, that I'm really eager to see the author's perspective on this subject.

 5. One of my recent blogger discoveries - Heather - reads and likes pretty much the same books as I, which often makes me wonder how it took so long for me to find her blog! She reviewed Displaced Persons (among a ton of other books that I've shamelessly wishlisted) and that has got me excited to check it out. Set in post-WW2, it follows a few survivors and the lives they lead. I especially like the title of this book - so many things come to mind.

The other titles that caught my fancy last month are:

 6. Rules of Tunnel by Ned Zeman - Raging Bibliomania. Mental illness is something I read about a lot.
 7. The Good Muslim by Tahmima Anam - S. Krishna's Books. A literary trilogy about a serious issue? I'm all for it.
 8. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs - Man of la Book particularly talked about X-Men when reviewing it. That was enough for me.
 9. The Arrogant Years by Lucette Lagnado - Beth Fish Reads. This is one of the memoirs that sounds appealing to me from the synopsis itself.
 10. The Filter Bubble by Eli Paliser - Amy Reads. I am pretty obsessed with privacy online, which is why I am curious about this book.
 11. When I Lived in Modern Times by Linda Grant - Nomadreader. Another book about embracing your Jewish identity in post-WW2.
 12. Q: A Novel by Evan Mandery - Iris on Books, addressing the question of "What if I had known about this? Would I have done it differently?"
 13. Stardust by Neil Gaiman - Always meaning to read this book but not terribly excited by it, but when Jen gushed about this book, I began to feel more interested in it.
 14. All over Coffee - At Shelf Love by Jenny. A graphic novel/book. Need I say more?

Which book are you most interested in?

36 comments:

zibilee said...

Aths, I love this new idea! I also am thrilled that you took a recommendation or two from me! I think Rules of the Tunnel will delight and surprise you, as it did me. It was irreverent, but also very grave, and I would love to discuss it with you when you finish it. I have some questions that I think you might find interesting. Also, Displaced Persons is was an incredible read as well. So, so moving. I hope that you get a chance to read all these great picks!

Colleen said...

This is a great idea!  I look forward to seeing what reads you "curate" from your blog reading each month

Amy Reads said...

Yay I'm so happy to see I made the list :D Some really grea tbooks on there, some that made it to my wish list as well!

Stephanie said...

I have the same problem that you do, so I am glad you came up with a solution.  A lot of the time I send a sample of a book that interests me to my kindle, but I must have around 100 samples now.  It's to the point that I don't even remember the majority of them.

bermudaonion (Kathy) said...

What a great idea!  I used to keep a notebook where I would jot down the title and who recommended it to me, but I haven't been good at keeping it up lately.  It looks like you discovered some great titles.

Harvee/Book Dilettante said...

What I often do is click over to my local library's webpage right away, and request the books I saw on a blog. I've managed to get some good books that way, instead of writing them down on paper for later.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy... said...

You know what I do to remember? I use the feature on Goodreads called, "Who recommended it to me". It helps me remember who I need to give a shot out too and who I need to visit the review for. 

Zohar said...

Not only a great idea but also very generous to give credit where credit's due.

http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

Lenasledgeblog.com said...

Thanks for sharing and giving other blogs some shine. Nice idea.

softdrink said...

Kafka on the Shore is a great book...I need to second Ti's recommendation!

Helen Murdoch said...

I am so excited that I am included! Great new idea. I take the name and authors of books that look good and add them to a "books to buy" list. I try to remember to include which blogger recommended them because I know I won't remember later! But, I don't include the recommender in my review, but I should.

Leeswammes (Judith) said...

Great idea, Aths. I do write down who recommended a book and why (e.g., it's like a book I recently reviewed, or because the blogger raved about it and I trust their choices). 

I'm not even thinking of my wishlist at the moment as my TBR (the unread books in the house) is so large. 

Good luck, I'm sure you'll discover some gems. 

BethFishReads said...

I hope you read Arrogant Years -- I really enjoyed it. Several of the books that caught your eye, caught mine too.

Ali Watts said...

This is such a great idea! I've been trying to keep a TBR log that includes where I first heard about a book, but I think it's wonderful that you're bringing your finds/inspirations to all of us

Athira / Aths said...

I am pretty fascinated with Rules of Tunnel. I'm not sure how the second person narration will work for me, since it's not my favorite, but I still want to give it a try.

Athira / Aths said...

Thanks! I am pretty excited about this idea too!

Athira / Aths said...

Thanks for recommending Filter Bubble! I would love to read it!

Athira / Aths said...

I do sampling sometimes too, but I somehow end up with tons of samples! I am hoping this will help me check the books I most want to read, right away.

Erin said...

Goodness, I love this idea! I started bookmarking reviews that made me want to read a particular book a while back, but the list just got longer and longer and I never did anything with it. It's nice to know why a book ended up on your list. I've read only two of the books on your list. One is City of Thieves, which I very, very much recommend. I listened to the audiobook in a day, I think, and kept inventing more household chores to do so I could keep listening! My father, brother, and sister all read and loved it, too. I also read Stardust a while back and felt sort of...eh...about it. Not one of my favorite Gaiman novels, but a quick read. I'll be interested to see what you think of the ones you end up reading!

nomadreader said...

What a fun list! I have started keeping track of where I *first* hear of a book, but it might be worth my time to add to that list as I read reviews by my favorite bloggers too. I hope you enjoy some of these blogger-recommended reads!

Jennifer G. said...

Thanks for including me!  I had to click through to Displaced Persons.  I really can't go wrong with any book relating to WWII.

Marce said...

I did read this but of course at work where I couldn't respond. Great project Aths, it will be nice to see where the recommendations are from. I keep track also.

Athira / Aths said...

Thanks! I'm reading through one of them and the book is fabulous! I'm so glad I gave this a try.

Athira / Aths said...

I used to do that at one point, but then I came home with 5+ books, and most went back unread. I still do that sometimes but only if I'm so so so so excited about the book.

Athira / Aths said...

I love that feature too. But sadly, lost the habit of doing it each time I added a book. I should still do it when I remember. 

Athira / Aths said...

Thank you! I love these bunch of books I added to my TBR!

Athira / Aths said...

You're welcome! I hope this feature stays.

Athira / Aths said...

Yay! Thanks! I'm actually halfway into it and have to agree that this book is fabulous! There are some weird things happening, but I just can't put it down! 

Athira / Aths said...

I remember you mention that once - you keep a list of 'books to buy' so when you go to a bookstore, you have the list handy. I need to do that too. I go to the store sometimes and come home with something random, which is also great, but it takes me eons to find that random book.

Athira / Aths said...

I close my eyes when I pass by the books in my shelves at home. They are reclining happily anyways, lol! Seriously, I need a feature to tackle those books too!

Athira / Aths said...

I hope I can read that too - I really loved the whole synopsis and your review, so it's on my wishlist! 

Athira / Aths said...

I'm glad that you like it too! I'm hoping I can read a lot of those books at some point.

Athira / Aths said...

I am so thrilled that you loved City of Thieves. At this point, I may not get to it, but I'm excited about reading it! I used to bookmark books too, but then never did anything with them. I'm hoping I can tackle my wishlists better now. 

Athira / Aths said...

I was hoping to read some of those powerful recommendations right away than just list them somewhere. So far I read Kafka on the Shore and love it. Next month, I hope to read more of the recommendations! 

Athira / Aths said...

I know right? I loved the sound of that book too and it seems to be a book that many read and loved.

Athira / Aths said...

I am hoping to keep my recommended lists better organized this way, so let's see where this goes!